Day +11, Time For a New Update

Such a gorgeous smile!

Today is day +11. We are in the double digits of days since transplant! Anna is doing what would be expected for how far in she is. A lot of people are asking me how Anna is doing/feeling. Anna is in a lot of pain. The mucositis is spreading down her digestive tract. I praise the Lord for the small comfort of a mouth with almost no sores at all, but her throat hurts a lot and it is spreading downward. The pain meds have changed to a stronger drug and the dosage changes moment by moment depending on how well she is able to keep it at bay. She has a continual drip, a button she can push every six minutes, and the ability to have the nurse give her a bigger one-time dose. These meds do make her a bit sleepy but it's better for her to be as pain free as possible right now. How long will this last you may be asking? We expect this to last at least another couple of weeks as the stem cells still need to start grafting before there will be any cells to attack the sores in her body. Even once the cells start grafting, the pain could get worse while they do their job. Swelling will also be a factor in which we must watch closely to make sure her airway doesn't close off.

Tired out
Anna is staying in great shape even while being isolated in her room. Instead of being able to walk laps in the 8th floor wing, she chooses to...yes you are reading correctly....JOG in place and do jumping jacks! She is also making sure her lungs stay open and clear by faithfully doing her incentive spirometry~ a tool she must suck in as much air as possible a total of ten times each. Another thing that she must do to keep her mouth moist is to swish and gargle with a special water with baking soda mix, and she has a band to work her arm muscles and therapy putty for strength in her fingers and hands. The more Anna does, the better time she will have recovering. It also gives her goals each day as we mark off each time she does any of these things.

Another question we have been asked is how much longer will Anna have to be in the hospital? Tomorrow she will have been in the hospital for 3 weeks already, and the average stay post transplant is about 30+ days. So being day +11 means we have at least 3 more weeks ahead. Some are able to go home around day +26 and yet others stay longer as their body needs more healing time. Friday or Saturday we should find out if Anna still needs to be in isolation. Being in isolation just means that she can't go out of her room unless she has a test that can't be done in her room, we as her parents/caretakers can't go into any of the community lounge spaces, and all nurses, doctors, and other staff must gown up and wear gloves. (This is because they go into each patient room and don't want to risk spreading any virus to others) We also can not have small children in to visit her as this virus is highly contagious.

This is a long painful road. There are no shortcuts. Anna's spirit remains positive and trusting in God's strength to get her through. We do have our moments. Tears do come. Tears that God allows and will hold in His hands. He cares. He comforts. He is giving us opportunity to give glory and honor to Him.

**Grandpa is doing considerably well. Today he had appointments at S.C.C.A. and we will find out more this evening after he meets with the doctor just what the plan of care will be. AML is a very aggressive form of leukemia and, left untreated, can give you only weeks to live. While he is in our home, we are taking his temperature multiple times a day to assure us there is no fever. We are also making sure he takes his medicines and stays comfortable. We feel so blessed to be able to "Honor our father" as God's Word encourages us to do by being able to take care of him! The hospital he will be at is about a mile from Children's. The post hospital care is what we were the most concerned about as it entails a commitment to daily (sometimes multiple times a day) outpatient appointments and special food care and preparation as well as bleaching down everything in the bathroom and kitchen after every use. We will already be doing these things for Anna and thought it logical for us to take this on for Grandpa too! There are so many restrictions that you really don't think about but you learn in classes that you must take if you are to be a caretaker. Things such as no fresh flowers, no potted plants, and no animals in the home. While I am a firm believer in building our immune systems with dirt, it is/will be dangerous for both Anna and Grandpa. Many life changes have already taken place such as hand sanitizer as a staple in our home and anywhere we go, and making sure we "isolate" anyone who feels like they are getting sick. We must be on the paranoid side and patrol our home to keep sickness away. Having the frame of mind that even a slight tummy ache, a stuffy nose, or even a bad headache could potentially be something that could be passed on to immune suppressed patients and make them deathly ill is the new way of thinking in the Houston home and has been since Anna's diagnosis back in October.

Thank you all again for your prayers for us and for those we have met at Children's. It is the best anyone can do! A special prayer for a 3 year old girl, Allistair Anderson, would be greatly appreciated! Allistair is directly under Anna and over one at the hospital. This is her second bout with cancer and it seems that the cancer is spreading very quickly. This precious little girl is in much pain and her treatment plan can be very hard for her to go through. Please pray for her parents to have the comfort and peace that only God can give. I have met her mama and she is a sweet Christian lady who brought a "bit of sunshine" to Anna by bringing her a fake potted plant. It sits in Anna's window as a reminder to pray for little Allistair and her family. We are so thankful for every opportunity!

***I will post pictures of Anna's birthday celebration soon!!! It's been a bit busy this past week so I thank you for your patience!***


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain what is happening now and some of what is ahead. We love you all and are so excited for the opportunities that God is giving you to minister and witness to others. Tell Anna that I know she can do all her physical activities with the Lord's help and her own determination to do all she can to make recovery as best as it can be. I am so proud of you sweet girl. You are running your race with patience and grace. Love Jackie Harper

  2. We will be praying for both of these beautiful girls!

  3. I am continuing to pray for Anna, especially that God will relieve her pain and that the graft will be very successful. I am also praying that your family will grow closer in this time of great difficulty. May you find refuge in the arms of Jesus.

  4. "Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
    From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I;
    For thou hat been a shelter for me , and a strong tower from the enemy.
    I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah
    Psalm 61:1-4
    Anna, I read this during my morning devotions today and thought of you. Please know that every morning I cry out before the throne of God for you.
    Rest in His strength.
    Love you sweetie ((Hugs))

  5. Anna, you are the kind of wonderful patient every nurse wishes she or he had assigned to them. Having a sweet spirit, and a wonderful attitude makes it easier for 'your' nurses and Drs., but it also is noticed by others, and is a testimony of our Saviors love & grace. The staff in this unit is well aware of all the different drugs you are on, and how they make you feel...and to see you trying your best to do all the exercising that's necessary to keep your muscle tone is a wonderful showing of your fortitude! I'm so very proud of you! Keep up the good work! And know that you have friends all over who are praying for you frequently, that you'll feel God's comforting arms about you, and that you'll continue to look up to your Savior, when things get rough, knowing that as much as we all care...He cares for you even more!

  6. We won't stop praying. We love you guys!!! I know that the Lord surrounds you and that He is much bigger than cancer. He will be with you till the storm passes by. "They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever." Psalm 125:1,2.

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  8. Thanks for the update! We are still praying!!

  9. Still praying for Anna, Grandpa, the whole family and now, Allistair! Love and miss you guys!


  10. My girls have been asking about Anna every single day. Thankyou for posting. We are praying for all of you right now. And sweet little Allistair. Love, the Haveman Girls

  11. Thank you for this update! We pray for you all daily.
    Much love,
    Carolyn, for the Youngs

  12. Dear Anna, your sweet spirit has always touched my life from the day I met you. Gods love just shines through your smile and those beautiful eyes of yours. We love you so much and will continue !
    Dear Lord, I ask you to turn this weakness into strength, suffering into peace, sorrow into joy, . May your Anna trust in your goodness and hope in your faithfulness, even in the middle of this suffering. Let her be filled with patience and joy in your presence as she waits for your healing touch.
    Please restore Anna to full health, dear Father. Remove all fear and doubt from her heart by the power of your Holy Spirit, and may you, Lord, be glorified through her life.
    As you heal and renew Anna Lord, may she bless and praise you.
    All of this I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

  13. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

    (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV)

    I will be praying that you have an abundance of God's strength today, Anna. It is how we end trials that matters the most. I love how you are so strong in the Lord and trusting in him. You are sharing in the suffering of Christ as it says in this passage. Love you and I am still praying for you!

  14. I can not help my tears from coming, I'm so glad the Lord is holding Anna and you in his arms. Praying for a great Mom and Dad. May the Holy Spirit continue to bring comfort to all of you in this very hard situation. Anna will be such a strong christian going through this.

  15. Anna, you are an inspiration to so many! You amaze me! I know, you would say, it's only by God's grace. Still, your testimony of a sweet spirit and determination to continue on in spite of your pain, continues to be an encouragement to all of us to stay faithful in trusting God as He is always faithful to us. Thank you! You are always in our prayers!

    Praying for Grandpa Houston as well. I love hearing testimonies of how God orchestrates things. So glad you are able to care for him too. Praying you ALL stay well... it so easy for all to get sick when one starts feeling ill.

    Praying for all of you to have the strength that is needed to keep going. Remebering Allistair as well. Love and hugs, Grace

  16. Thank you for sharing details about family changes. Wow. It must be difficult to constantly remember to sanitize things, especially when you have lots of little ones! I will be praying for you all: for strength and patience through new challenges,for your father's treatments,and Anna's comfort during this painful process. You have such a gorgeous smile, Anna! I was so surprised to read that your doing jumping jacks right now! Wow! I love you so much and can't wait to see you again :)

  17. Thank you for your updates they are read with tears and prayers we love you all and we are praying for you all. I love seeing your smile Anna even during this time you still have that sweet loving sprit that I have always loved about you. Lots of Love Hugs and most of all PRAYERS
    Theresa Pennington

  18. Houston Family,

    Will continue to pray for Anna during these next couple of difficult weeks. It is encouraging as my wife said her sweet spirit through the all the pain. It's wonderful how the Lord has been able to use your family to be an encouragement to others there. We are praying for Pastor's father along with others Pastor mentioned that you've met since being there.

    Love and prayers,
    Pr. 3:5-6


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